Close coupling a Bachmann 4-8-4 N&W "J"...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by shaygetz, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    One of the prettiest locos around, Bachmann was one of the first to model it for the low end market. While I'm sure this pre-Spectrum release won't stand up to close scrutiny, it captures the overall look of the J quite well...'til you get to the cab. With more that 5 scale feet between the cab and tender, I had to come up with a way to close the gap and clean up the lines a bit.

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  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    The tender is pulled along for the ride, having no provision for power pickup, making this a very quick fix. Upon turning the tender over, I noted that the drawbar pin was just ahead of the mounting screw for the tender shell.

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  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    I started by clipping the pin and removing the tender shell mounting screw behind it. I then made a new pin from a power contact tube and a screw from a Rix switch machine, then placed it in the screw hole for the shell. Now the shell is held in place by the screw and the drawbar pin has been moved back almost 2 scale feet...

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  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    ...making for a nicer flow between the locomotive and tender...

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  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    ...and a sweeter lookin' beastie on the main.:thumb:

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  6. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

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    Nice going Bob. :thumb: :thumb: I have a couple of Bachman Northerns. One runs fair, the other hardly at all. I am not sure but I think it is out of quarter, whatever that means. I have heard that so much but nobody explains what it is.sign1 sign1
  7. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    those older bachmanns looked pretty well, but their runnning characteristics would range from very poor to adequate. I think bowser still makes new chasis for them that the old shell can be placed upon. As for the out of quarter - it means one wheel on an axle has turned relative to the other On steam locos, the drive pins for the siderods are suppposed to be 90 degrees apart (or 1/4 of a circle). Those bachmanns had split axles, and the center gear would often split allowing one wheel to rotate relative to the other. My experience with older bachmann steamers has made me wary of any steamer with the split axle design. I don't know if the spectrum steamers are the same way.

    kevin
  8. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

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    That was a neat idea.
    Are you planning on disguising that "pogo stick" rear truck on the loco?
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    SSssssssshhhhhhhh!! You're not 'sposed to see that!hamr I found looking away from it helps:thumb:

    Kevin's got you covered there, Dick. NWSL has a quartering jig to help there, that or you can, with practice, eyeball it with bit of work and patience. And yes, Kevin, I was somewhat disappointed when I saw that they had split axles on this one too though it appears redesigned to hold up better. This ones mech shows signs of being well used with no adverse problems yet. Like most of my steam, it will live a life of leisure, pulling excursion extras from time to time with very little real load to speak of.
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    An easy fix that really improves the appearance. Just curious how that is on a curve: looks like the swing of the tender truck might be limited, although it may be just the angle of the picture. Nice job, though. No wonder those two guys standin' in the sun are eyeing that beast.

    Wayne
  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Thanks, Wayne. It doesn't appear to change anything except the minimum radius. That's probably gone from 18" to 22" but on the club layout, our minimums are 32" so there's no loss there. When I got the loco it came with a second tender so, if it's a real problem, I can always go back to that one for smaller curves.
  12. petey

    petey Member

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    Hello Bob,
    We have exchanged posts before. Not that it matters, but I enjoy seeing someone take these less expensive models and expend the energy to improve them, rather than just buying, six $250 locos and then complaining, at length, of the flaws they have found in them.
    I have done work on less expensive lines my whole HO 'career', when I didn't have the money for premium stuff. I enjoyed the process of making them better.
    I have reworked a friend's Bach NYC 4-8-4, to make it appear more like an FEF 2, which has one traction tire, and does a great job, pulling eight, 85' passenger cars. Also reworked the smoke pot, by adding a bit of cotton around the resistance post, so that it draws up the smoke fluid more efficiently. Smokes like a champ. This is essentially a Bach Plus model.
    The most fragile Bach's are the 1975-80 units made in Hong Kong. I believe these were all ATSF Northerns & Texas types. These are good looking accurate models, Bowser made a chassis for. As mentioned, they have the three-part axle, which I describe as having the Bach 'dreaded eigth-coupled disease'. My fix went like this. Used CA on both sides of driver axle, maintained quarter while doing this. Didn't work (I believe epoxy is the glue answere here, although messier to work with). Next step, pinned metal nub on driver, through plasctic center axle on one side, maintained quarter. Worked, until other side broke loose. Pinned opposite side(eight pins). Somehow it appears I lost quarter. Little baby does not slip now. But has an evil hop. What do you think of redrilling drivers, one one side, to move rod pins into correct quarter positions, ? Would you have any interest in trying this?
  13. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Hey, Petey...I appreciate folks who tinker with the lower end stuff. While I would like to purchase one of those fine BLI Alleganys, it would still be a possession, not a pet as I regard my other beasties. Most every one has a story to tell and a tweek or two required to get it to behave.

    As for drilling the drivers...whew, I dunno...poppin' them puppies back in quarter would be my first option, scoping out a Northern basketcase on Ebay would be my next. Even though I'm somewhat freespirited when it come to prototypical accuracy, I'm still a bit fussy on appearance, even if only I could see it, it'll still gnaw at me knowing I fudged it in like that. Case in point...I have a 70s Rivarossi Big Boy with the silver handrails and the oversized flanges that came coupled up to one of those fancy new Rivarossi centipede tenders with the scale flanges and the blackened hand rails. Glares at me like it's painted flourescent pink...:rolleyes: sigh
  14. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

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    The J looks great Bob.:thumb:
    Pete,
    If your talking about drilling the drivers and installing a steel axle, I've done it with a Bachmann HO 2-8-0. It worked, kind of.
    I drilled them in the lathe, drilled 4 of them over sized and pressed in nylon plugs then re drilled them to the axle size. Insulating at the axle isn't the best way to go but it worked.
    The only problem I have with it is that I must have pressed one of the insulated drives on a little crooked as it wobbles slightly.
    I have also done this with an N scale 0-6-0 which worked great.
    Another possibility that I was considering for the 4-8-4 is to make bushings to fit the Bachmann chassis that will accept Mantua or Bowser drivers.
  15. petey

    petey Member

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    Hi Bob & Ray(does that ring a bell?),
    Thanks for the response. No, drilling for new axles would (I think) be more of a problem, for me, than, drilling for the rod pins at the proper quarter point on the circumfence of the driver. I believe I could sleeve, with tubing, the new rod pin hole. I may be too ignorant to anticipate the pitfalls. As I described, the driver slippage is fixed.
  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Considering all the problems that we have with drivers slipping out of quarter, it amazes me that the manufacturers don't eliminate the problem entirely. This is something that can occur with any steam loco, from the cheapest toy, up to the most expensive brass model. Some years ago, there was a firm called (I think) DJH Models. They offered reasonably priced brass kits for USRA Pacifics and Mikados. The pictures in the ads showed very attractive locos, still out of my financial grasp, but quite a bit cheaper than the brass rtr that was available at the time. The best thing about them, though, was ease of assembly, including foolproof (almost) driver quartering. The secret was that the axle ends were milled square, as were the holes in the drivers which accepted them. I assume that the modeller would use Lok-Tite to keep the wheels from falling off, but they'd never slip out of quarter. Does anybody know if this company is still in business? Or if somebody holds the rights to this simple, yet brilliant, idea?

    Wayne